|The Story of the Greeks|
|by Helene A. Guerber|
| Elementary history of Greece, made up principally of stories about persons, giving at the same time a clear idea of the most important events in the ancient world and calculated to enforce the lessons of perseverance, courage, patriotism, and virtue that are taught by the noble lives described. Beginning with the legends of Jason, Theseus, and events surrounding the Trojan War, the narrative moves on to present the contrasting city-states of Sparta and Athens, the war against Persia, their conflicts with each other, the feats of Alexander the Great, and annexation by Rome. Ages 10-14 |
ALEXANDER AND DIOGENES
EVERYBODY bowed down before Alexander, and all looked
at him with awe and respect, as he made his triumphant
progress through Greece,—all except the sage
This man belonged to a class of philosophers who were
called "cynics," which means "doglike," because, as
some say, they did not care for the usual comforts of
It is said that Diogenes, the principal philosopher of
this kind, chose as his home a great earthenware tub
near the Temple of Ceres. He wore a rough woolen
cloak, summer and winter, as his only garment, and ate
all his food raw. His only utensil was a wooden bowl,
out of which he drank.
One day, however, he saw a child drinking out of its
hollow palm. Diogenes immediately threw away the bowl,
saying he could do without luxury as well as the child;
and he drank henceforth from his hand.
As you see, Diogenes was a very strange man. He prided
himself upon always telling the truth, and upon
treating all men alike. Some of his disciples once met
him wandering about the streets with a lantern,
anxiously peering into every nook and corner, and
 fixedly at every person he met. When asked what he was
looking for so carefully, yet apparently with so little
hope, he bluntly answered, "An honest man."
Alexander had heard of this queer philosopher, and was
anxious to see him. He therefore went to the Temple of
Ceres, escorted by all his courtiers, on purpose to
visit him. Diogenes was lying on the ground in front of
his tub, warming himself in the rays of the sun.
Alexander, drawing near, stood between the philosopher
and the sun, and tried to begin a conversation; but
Diogenes gave surly answers, and seemed to pay little
heed to his visitor.
At last the young king proudly remarked, "I am
Alexander the king!"
"And I," replied the philosopher in exactly the same
tone, "am Diogenes the cynic!"
As he could win nothing but short or rude answers,
Alexander was about to go away, but he first asked the
sage if there was anything he could do for him. "Yes,"
snapped Diogenes; "stand out of my sunshine!"
The courtiers were shocked at this insolent behavior,
and began to talk of the philosopher in a scornful tone
as they were moving away. Alexander, overhearing them,
soon stopped them by saying, "If I were not Alexander,
I should like to be Diogenes."
By this remark he wished them to understand, that, if
he could not be master of all earthly things, he would
rather despise them.
Strange to relate, Alexander the king, and Diogenes the
cynic, died on the same night, and from the same cause.
Diogenes died in his tub, after a too plentiful supper
 the raw leg of an ox; while Alexander breathed his
last in a Babylonian palace, after having eaten and
drunk to excess at a rich banquet.
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